With almost everything that has long gone on in the globe given that the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic previous March, an optimistic frame of mind may be the greatest way to tackle the difficulties of the present-day state of affairs. The Lehigh softball workforce is embracing optimism and positivity as the Mountain Hawks prepare to open up their 2021 marketing campaign.
“Just one of the causes I come to feel like we are at present in a quite excellent spot is that when the pandemic started off, I understood from some reading through that this matter could last a while,” 26th-calendar year head coach Fran Troyan stated. “The fall was tricky for our players because practices got taken away from them, not by means of something that they experienced finished, but from the situation. They are earning a ton of sacrifices right now just to be able to practice. Knock on wood, it has absent properly so considerably. I am self-assured that this workforce will go on to be disciplined with its practices transferring ahead.
Troyan ongoing, “We’re selecting to attempt and be optimistic about issues and the players are grateful for each and every prospect they have to follow. Actually, this attitude is heading to supply us with the greatest probability to do effectively competitively.”
Lehigh is set to take the subject at Sacred Heart on Sunday for its 1st motion in practically 51 months. The Mountain Hawks final competed at Grand Canyon on March 11, 2020 only to wake up the subsequent early morning to news that their season had been canceled mid-Spring Split trip. Lehigh misplaced a senior course of 5 that established the basis for management and tradition but was denied an option to go out with a Patriot League championship. The Mountain Hawks are grateful for the chance to return to the diamond in 2021 and with the optimistic state of mind and legacy of the course of 2020 carrying above, the Mountain Hawks really feel superior about their probabilities to return to the leading of the Patriot League in 2021. Try CBD gummies here
“If we took out all of the outdoors factors, just wanting at the group practising in the industry dwelling proper now, I truly like what I see,” reported Troyan. “I have been accomplishing this prolonged more than enough to know if our university student-athletes are heading to be completely ready to compete. We’re down to 16 gamers right now so we’re heading to have to stay healthier, but if we keep wholesome and can keep away from the personal injury bug or a COVID situation we will have a truly very good prospect to be competitive.”
The Mountain Hawks have been examined typically because the shutdown past March with pauses, shutdowns, new rules and a “new” normal, but the student-athletes in the application have taken everything in stride.
“Our coaching staff members has performed a superb job of concentrating on what we can do. We’re not anxious and the players are not anxious about what we are not able to do,” Troyan reported. “They’re coming with energy to every single one exercise. They’re grateful. They’re doing the job hard and they are acquiring a ton of pleasurable. In earlier decades some thing like a snow day may have been a relief for them with no exercise. Now, a snow day is a disappointment that they can not exercise, which is a genuinely great indication of the lifestyle in the system correct now.”
As is typical in softball, Lehigh’s accomplishment may well be dictated by its means to carry out in the pitcher’s circle. Junior Gabriella Nori will be appeared on to direct the way. As a freshman in 2019, Nori struck out 137 batters and experienced the cheapest Era on the team all through the Patriot League year. She in the long run was named to the All-Patriot League Event team. An injury constrained Nori to 10 extremely powerful innings in 2020. She will be eased along as she returns to complete toughness but has the potential to be a single of the leading pitchers in the league.
“We are going to just take it sluggish with Gabi as she comes back,” Troyan claimed. “She has performed a good task with her rehab. If she can appear back and pitch the way we know she can pitch, we come to feel like we can be in just about every activity that she pitches.”
Kaitlyn Youthful joins the staff as a remarkably-regarded left-hander who was a two-time all-condition performer from Saegertown, Pa., and need to have lots of possibilities to add in the circle.
“We like Kaitlyn a ton,” Troyan said. “She’s a freshman and arrives from a actually small city, but she has a probability to go out and compete towards any individual on day a single. She loves to contend and will never enable the minute get to her. She is entertaining to coach.”
Lainey Stephenson returns for her senior year as the other veteran arm on the personnel. Stephenson struck out 23 in 26 innings in 2020.
“Lainey is at last nutritious and completely ready to go,” Troyan explained. “She will shock some people this calendar year. We have two freshmen in Ansley Dambach and Brooke Cannon who are able pitchers as very well. So we have extra pitching depth this 12 months than we did very last year.”
Lehigh displayed some offensive firepower in 2020 with many of the important contributors again in the fold this year.
Junior Jaelynn Chesson was 1st crew All-Patriot League as a freshman in 2019 and hit .486 with six home runs in 12 games ahead of the shutdown final time. Chesson is hitting .381 around her first two seasons with 12 house operates in 67 online games. She is anticipated to perform correct discipline for the Mountain Hawks.
Emily Cimino loved a standout freshman campaign, batting .346 with 4 home runs and a group-best 15 RBIs in 17 games last period. As sturdy as her freshman period was offensively, Cimino also amazed with her outfield protection. She is projected to patrol middle discipline.
“She’s really very good at very first foundation, but she’s special out in the outfield,” Troyan claimed of Cimino. “We did not know how athletic she was out there until we genuinely begun doing the job with her. She’s far too potent of a player defensively to choose her out of centre subject proper now.”
Offensively, Troyan compares the operate-creation capabilities of Chesson and Cimino with other Lehigh duos that have occur via in nearly 10-yr intervals.
“We test to preserve Jaelynn and Emily in the exact same pods all the time,” he claimed. “Those two are performing with each other on a everyday foundation in the cage. They are pushing each individual other. They compare as a hitting blend to Stephanie Digneo and Jenny Bender in the early 2000s or Jen Colquhoun and Julie Fernandez in the early 2010s. It is exceptional that we’ve experienced two hitters that are so strong that can bat again-to-back in the lineup.”
With only 16 gamers energetic as opening day nears, overall flexibility will be crucial and the Mountain Hawks have that as soon as once more.
Troyan has quite a few options in still left area, like junior Karsen O’Rourke, sophomore Josie Charles and freshman Bella Egizio.
On the infield, Lehigh returns encounter and leadership. Senior Payton Alsobrooks and juniors Carley Barjaktarovich and Karsen O’Rourke will provide as captains and all a few need to be in the infield blend. Alsobrooks has began at third foundation the last two seasons and hit .276 in 13 games in 2020. Barjaktarovich has began all 72 game titles of her Lehigh occupation at shortstop. Previous yr, Barjaktarovich led the Mountain Hawks with a .352 typical in 17 games with a staff-finest 19 hits and two stolen bases. She hit .307 in 55 online games as a freshman in 2019 with 50 hits, 21 operates scored, 18 RBIs and 13 steals. O’Rourke started off game titles at third foundation and all 3 outfield spots previous year and will possible see time at 2nd base in 2021.
Juniors Addie Kittel and Melissa Fedorka will see time at 1st base. Sophomore Josie Charles missed all of last time due to injury and will contend for time on the infield as very well. Freshman Brooke Cannon will discover time proper absent at next foundation, and Ansley Dambach will fill an infield utility role apart from pitching.
Guiding the plate, Lehigh returns senior Allyson Dibsie, who strike .278 in 12 games last season and Fedorka who could see time at catcher in addition to 1st foundation. They are joined by freshman Amanda Greaney from North Penn Significant Faculty, who carries pop in her bat.
In this non-standard 2021 time, Lehigh will engage in 4 non-league doubleheaders to get completely ready for a 24-sport Patriot League slate that will function four-video game series as a substitute of the usual three. After non-league working day excursions to Sacred Heart, Seton Corridor, Saint Joseph’s and Delaware, Lehigh will open up league engage in at household towards two-time defending winner Boston College. The regular time concludes with a four-game, residence-and-household series with Lafayette in May well.
“There are some seriously great teams in our league and some groups that are increasing,” Troyan reported. “It will be enjoyable and thrilling. As long as we continue to be balanced, and we get the creation we anticipate from our pitchers, we can have a actually great 12 months.”
The Mountain Hawks’ period-opening doubleheader at Sacred Heart will get started at 11 a.m. Sunday from Fairfield, Conn.
Lehigh Athletics is enthusiastic to have our softball workforce return to competitors this semester! It will not be the similar with out the cheers of our loyal Lehigh lovers coming from the stands. As we get ready for seasons compared with any other, Mountain Hawk lovers however have the possibility to make their mark on Leadership Park. Aid the Lehigh Athletics application by purchasing a enthusiast cutout now!